Tricky Dick and Toilet Training

            

           

Best of the ‘Gest

Some of the best posts in Silverback Digest are the ones penned by our members. This one came from SB Mike os the Post Island Troop. Little Joey, the subject of this post, is the one seated in the far right of this picture. (PS- nothing else about Joe could be described as far right.)

A Toileting  Travesty (or A Freudian Foible)

By Silverback Mike, Post Island Troop

Post Island, circa 1916

In 1972, a Presidential election year, our son Joe was two, and we were twenty-two.  I remember well what the Republicans  called “the clearest choice of the  century,” Nixon vs. McGovern.  It was  indeed  the clearest choice  for my wife Cyndy and me, and it stirred us to some at least token political activism distributing pamphlets for the Democrat McGovern, and the platform for social change, equality and peace. We were tearful  and down-trodden as we watched the election results, a Nixon landslide with  Massachusetts the  only state to give McGovern a majority.  Later I would proudly drive around with my “Don’t Blame Me; I’m from Massachusetts” bumper sticker as it became perfectly clear what the national majority had chosen.  Yes indeed, you can fool almost all the people some of the time.  We even drove south,  stayed  ironically at Fort McHenry  of Star Spangled Banner  fame (we knew a kindred spirited  National Park Service Ranger stationed there), and we attended the Counter-Inaugural protest organized by the loyal dissenters.  We came face to face  with some frightening  police (state) crowd control tactics  in response to what we considered totally acceptable free assembly and expression. 

The “Tricky One” even crossed our path  in his motorcade and I swear he seemed to glow/gloat  with a very strange  aura as he was surrounded in all directions by motorcycle police, rooftop snipers, troops, and choppers in the air.  Returning to Boston with our civics lesson set firmly, we were delighted to see the front page of Boston’s alternative newspaper, The Phoenix, which carried a picture  of President Nixon  with the jagged teeth of the great white shark from Jaws superimposed on his mouth. 

As an expression of domestic political  protest  I cut  the photo out and taped it irreverently to the inside cover of our toilet seat so that in effect we could “dump” on Nixon even as he dumped on us.  I thought no more of it, and the photo remained for next months – or the next thousands flushes.

Not too long after, we began toilet training with Joe, in accordance with recommendations of Dr. Benjamin Spock- featuring gentle encouragement, lavish praise, and frequent reward. Joe, however, wasn’t buying it.  In fact, over the ensuing months he was fretful, even fearful, in our regular BM training efforts. He would hold in for long periods and finally go in his underpants to his discomfort and our dismayed frustration. One time, he insisted that the dog pooped in his pants!

No amount of cajoling, story telling, or playing worked. Toilet training was becoming a traumatic ordeal. Then we noticed that in Joe’s clay play that he was fixated on the toilet as a painful, biting experience. We did some therapeutic analysis and … the penny dropped. Uh-oh!  My act of political potty protest was to blame! Oh the parental guilt!  How could I have been so insensitive?

Luckily, it was not too late to reverse the tide. I cut out a happy cartoon character and taped it to the underside of the toilet seat where the offensive fang-toothed Nixon had been, and Joe had his first self-gratifying  bowel movement sitting, or should I say shitting, on the toilet that very afternoon!

Nixon meets The King at the White House

It was a more sinister plumbing (Watergate) incident which led to Nixon’s expulsion from the White House only a few months later.  For me it was an outcome to be celebrated nearly as much joy as Joe’s success on the porcelain throne! 

The gun that Elvis gave Nixon as a gift in yet another bizarre Presidential incident of the time.

One thought on “Tricky Dick and Toilet Training

  1. Wow, we made the Anniversary celebration.Thanks for your amazing daily creations, Step

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